It’s time to be your own heroine ‘cos Prince Charming is not coming to save you…
Myths and countless movies have taught us how to be heroes but very few have taught us how to be your own heroine. Until very recently there have been almost no representations of strong heroines in narratives that lead to self-transformation. Generally, boys have hero stories and girls have fairy tales, where the woman is the victim-princess and her prince charming is her hero.
Little boys grow up read comic books and learn the process of becoming a hero – the journey to courage and self-transformation. However this has not been the case for little girls and women. Therefore even with all the great strides women have made, young girls continue to hesitate, have low self esteem and self confidence. While there are a variety of factors that contribute to this, one of the most obvious and easy, to change is the lack of heroines in popular culture. How can you be your own heroine when you have no one to emulate?
Unlike the Hero’s journey, which men, undertake to find their courage and gain self-efficacy, the journey for women is very different. Maureen Murdoch, in her book the Heroine’s Journey, describes it as an inward journey toward soul work. A journey to know thy-self and to become whole that balances both the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine creates the space for transform. It is only through this process that women living in a hyper-masculine world that devalues the feminine, will transcend their greatest limitations – being cut off from the under-valued feminine.
It is not a physical act but a manifestation of overcoming and transcendence that pushes us to confront our greatest challenges—our mindset peppered with fears, low self-confidence, constant hesitation, self-loathing and limiting beliefs. Often it is during the lowest point of our life we find an inner strength that defies rational thinking that allows us to confront our self. This can come as a mid-life crisis; many women have wrecked their entire lives this way and fall into depression, drug abuse, many types of addictions, extra-marital affairs, obesity, withholding love from their daughters and self loathing. The list goes on…
However, others who heed the call to their heroine’s journey during a moment of crisis that forced the issue; made the choice to find a more deliberate and safe way to deal with it. They created the space for creative self-exploration to find out who they truly are, what makes them happy and what is their purpose. As one of my favourite authors, Jean Shinoda Bolen M.D., has explained so well, on the “Road to Athens” a path to conformity, where pieces of you are chopped off and you are reconfigured to fit a certain mold, you end up losing the true essence of who you are.
We have an innate awareness that we are all part of something so much greater than ourselves, an underlying reality in our collective memory that allows us to give meaning to find our path in life. Sadly, most people never begin their heroine’s journey and find that they are re-living the same traumas that caused them to create behaviors that are self-destructive.
The “wisdom of life” is what philosophers, writers, and artists have left us through the contributions of timeless works that have impacted our lives. Unfortunately the myths, stories and “universal truths” that centered us, have been one sided and grounded firmly in the masculine. We know our heroes but do we know any of our heroines?